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Online Dating, the Paradox of Choice, and Thriving in Economic Uncertainty

In today’s digital era, online dating platforms offer endless potential partners. People can literally swipe right on thousands of potential partners across multiple platforms geared towards a variety of demographics. But with an abundance of options, a Statista study reveals a mere 17% find romantic partnerships. This is the “paradox of choice”, which explains that sometimes, more choices equal less results. Does this ring a bell with our economic decisions too?

The Paradox of Choice

Imagine that you are at an ice cream parlor and they only have three flavors to choose from: chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. It’s not that hard to make a choice. But imagine now that they have 50 flavors and things become a lot more complicated. How will you ever choose between olive oil caramel cream and maple bacon pistachio? How many taste-tests are allowed?!

In his book, The Paradox of Choice, Psychologist Barry Schwartz underscores how an array of choices often leads to indecision, anxiety, and the constant quest for something better.

Economic Uncertainty and the Benefit of Limited Choices

The current economic landscape, marked by layoffs and wobbly financial institutions, mirrors this paradox. In the M&A world, we are seeing budget cuts, an ultra-competitive job market, and a downturn in deal flow. If that makes you feel anxious, I have some good news: Times of economic uncertainty are not easy, but according to the paradox of choice principle, these challenging times, while daunting, can present fewer, more focused opportunities – a potential silver lining. With reduced choices, focusing on what truly matters becomes more feasible.

Recalling the Great Recession of 2007-2009, I faced a similar challenge. Despite graduating from a top-tier MBA program, job opportunities were scarce.

Turn Constraints into Opportunities

With limited options, I established Opus Connect on a meager $500. Today, it’s a seven-figure professional networking organization for the M&A community. And in some ways, I have the recession to thank for my success. Not only do I not know whether I would have ever started Opus if I had other job offers back then, but I doubt that I would have succeeded as quickly as I did. When you have 10 job offers on the table, you have options – you have an out if something goes wrong. When choices are scarce, commitment intensifies. A singular option forces one to give their all, ensuring its success.

Making a Significant Impact with Less

Revisiting our ice cream example, imagine an impending recession causing a parlor to limit its flavors to three. By streamlining production, reducing the cost and number of ingredients, and simplifying customer choice, the parlor can save money and then pass those savings along to its customers. This move not only cuts costs but assures quality.

At Opus, we have the ability to sell a lot of things to a lot of people: high-ticket events, sponsorships, lower cost events, memberships, etc. In the current economic climate, marketing and travel budgets are being cut, so some of the more expensive items will be impacted. Rather than working harder to keep up with our current business model, we will likely focus on smaller budget opportunities, like our memberships and a few of our most productive types of events. 

Despite economic shifts, needs persist. People’s love for ice cream doesn’t wane, nor does the business world’s demand for growth. By honing our focus, we can deliver valuable, affordable, and scalable solutions. That’s how you thrive despite economic uncertainty. And perhaps, navigating the world of online dating might just get a tad simpler.

Check out my previous article on business development and tell us what you think on LinkedIn or Instagram! @opusconnect.

By Lou Sokolovskiy, Opus Connect
July 2023

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